St. Louis Police Officers Association Votes Against Red-Light Cameras

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Board members with the St. Louis Police Officers' Association approved a motion Monday night opposing the use of red-light cameras.

Association president Gary Wiegert tells RFT that the motion passed overwhelmingly with just a few of the board's nineteen members voting against the measure. The motion states:
SLPOA is in opposition to the red light cameras because they limit interactions of police officers with the public. Additionally, revenue collected from this technology is not earmarked for law enforcement or any other public safety project.
Wiegert says that the police officers' association issued the motion in support of attorney Chet Pleban -- who last year filed suit against the City of Arnold over its use of red-light cameras -- and state Sen. Jim Lembke, who proposed a bill earlier this year that would ban the cameras in Missouri.

"What really ticked off members of the board was the report that aldermen weren't paying these citations and even going to the police department to have these tickets fixed," says Wiegert, whose organization represents 1,100 of the police department's 1,400 officers. "We hope that legislators or attorneys can use our motion to help make their case against these cameras."

St. Louis began using the controversial cameras in 2007 following a year long delay prompted -- in part -- by an RFT investigation into how the city bid for the cameras. Wiegert says that the association currently has no plans to take its motion to the mayor's office or to police chief Dan Isom.

He adds that the motion has nothing to do with job security. "Believe me, we have plenty other things we could be doing besides issuing traffic tickets," says Wiegert. "But the important thing to understand is that there is a lot more to a traffic stop than just issuing a ticket -- there's also checking to make sure the driver has insurance and seeing if their license is up to date. The way it is now, someone could steal your car and run a red-light and you'd get the ticket. We believe that traffic tickets should be made against individuals, not their vehicles."

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